May 21, 2010
As Americans struggle with the personal fallout from the financial crisis — teaser-rate mortgage loans that have repriced and become unaffordable, blatantly unfair credit card terms, and retirement savings that have been wiped out — the Senate is debating measures to curb consumer abuses and establish future safeguards. Most Americans don't work for an investment bank, don't draw executive compensation and never have to deal with collateralized mortgage obligations or credit default swaps. Most middle-class Americans do, however, hold a mortgage, make credit card payments and hope for a reasonable retirement. Average Americans can't out-lobby large financial institutions. They need a regulatory structure to protect their interests.
Ann Graham, a professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, teaches banking law, commercial law and corporate governance. Her career as a banking lawyer includes serving as senior counsel in FDIC's Washington, D.C., office and as general counsel to the Texas Banking Department during the banking crisis of the 1980s.